Francis Langford Promenade Photos

Francis Langford Promenade Photos

the Francis Langford Promenade in Lakeland, FL

Lakeland, Florida, a city filled with charm and history, has a unique gem that attracts visitors and locals alike. This gem is none other than the Francis Langford Promenade, a picturesque walkway surrounding Lake Mirror. Its captivating beauty, architectural marvel, and rich history make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a blend of nature, history, and culture.

Lakeland FL Parks

Key Takeaways

  • The Francis Langford Promenade is a historic, 21-acre lakefront walkway in Lakeland, FL designed by C. Wellford Leavitt, listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and offers a mix of scenic views, leisure activities, and concerts.

  • Frances Langford and Bob Hope, both entertainment legends, have deep connections to Lakeland with Langford being a celebrated resident and Hope’s performances for U.S. troops commemorated at the promenade.

  • Downtown Lakeland features various attractions, including historic sites like Munn Park, Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College, and vibrant cultural activities and dining options along Main St.

Unveiling the Beauty of Lake Mirror Promenade

Stunning view of Lake Mirror Promenade with Frances Langford Promenade in the backgroundThe Francis Langford Promenade, a recognized Lakeland landmark, is a 21-acre, 20-foot wide decorated walkway that embodies the charm and beauty of Lake Mirror. Designed by esteemed New York landscape architect C. Wellford Leavitt in 1928, this beautiful site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places highlighting its architectural and historical significance.

Beyond being a scenic spot, the promenade seamlessly blends history, architecture, and nature. It’s a place where you can:

  • Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Lake Mirror

  • Take leisurely walks

  • Enjoy free concerts

  • Capture memorable photographs

Its proximity to Hollis Gardens enhances its appeal, creating a paradise for nature and history enthusiasts.

History of the Promenade

Lakeland’s residents hold the Lake Mirror Promenade dear to their hearts. Known for its distinctive design that embodies the principles of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement, it is an integral part of Florida’s memory. The promenade was dedicated to Frances Langford, a renowned former resident of Lakeland, in 1946, further enhancing its historical significance.

Since its construction from 1926 to 1928, the promenade has served as a prominent focal point in Lakeland. Initially showcasing an intricate balustrade adorned with classical elements, the promenade has evolved over the years, while still preserving its historical charm. Its recognition as one of the finest illustrations of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement in Florida and its features in ads promoting the city’s attractions are a testament to its historical progression.

Architectural Highlights

Unique architectural features of Lake Mirror PromenadeThe unique design elements of the Lake Mirror Promenade instantly captivate anyone who steps onto it. Under the orchestration of New York architect Charles Leavitt, the promenade displays an architectural style marked by ornamental lamp posts and Corinthian columns, paying tribute to the City Beautiful movement.

The promenade and loggia stand as one of Florida’s finest illustrations of the City Beautiful movement, complete with an elaborate balustrade featuring classical elements. Over time, the promenade has transformed into a 21-acre, 20-foot wide embellished pathway encircling Lake Mirror, its decorative lamp posts and Corinthian columns, especially on the west side, adding to its charm.

Activities and Attractions

Beyond being a feast for the eyes, the Frances Langford Promenade is a hub of vibrant activities and attractions. The promenade offers:

  • Free concerts and movies at the amphitheater

  • Events associated with the annual Mayfaire-by-the-Lake

  • The Child of the Sun Urban Triathlon

  • The Lake Mirror Car Classic

Free concerts are scheduled at various times throughout the year, adding a musical rhythm to the tranquil surroundings. From festive events to family-friendly movie nights showcasing films like Sing 2, the promenade offers a perfect outdoor activity for individuals of all age groups.

The Legacy of Frances Langford and Bob Hope

The Francis Langford Promenade is deeply intertwined with the legacy of two entertainment legends, Frances Langford and Bob Hope. Frances Langford, a highly esteemed singer and actress, was known for her contributions to entertaining American soldiers through USO tours, where she performed alongside Bob Hope.

Frances Langford contributed significantly to the entertainment industry with her:

  • regular singing on Bob Hope’s The Pepsodent Show

  • participation in military entertainment programs

  • memorable movie performances in films like Every Night at Eight (1935), Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935), Collegiate (1936), and Palm Springs (1936)

  • appearance in The Honeymooners’ ‘Christmas Party’ episode (1953)

Her contributions left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.

Frances Langford's Career

Born and raised on a houseboat on the Miami River, Frances Langford:

  • Completed her education at Lakeland High School

  • Pursued further studies at Southern College

  • Initiated her show business career in the 1930s as a singer and actress

  • Participated in musicals and built her renown as a skilled vocalist

  • Hosted a television show

  • Collaborated with Bob Hope in performances

One of Langford’s most notable roles included performances in the film ‘Every Night at Eight’ (1935) and ‘The Bamboo Blonde’. She frequently portrayed herself in films, further cementing her fame. During World War II, she earned the title of ‘GI Sweetheart’ or ‘GI Nightingale’ for her performances on USO tours, where she entertained and visited injured GIs.

Following a tonsillectomy during her teenage years, Frances Langford’s vocal range shifted from soprano to contralto, which distinguished her ‘big band’ essence.

Bob Hope's Influence

Bob Hope, a legendary comedian, and entertainer, too, has left his mark on the promenade’s history. He made an appearance at the Lake Mirror Promenade as part of a U.S.O. tour aimed at entertaining U.S. troops. The loggia at the Frances Langford Promenade is dedicated to honor Bob Hope for his entertainments during World War II.

The Lakeland community held a positive view of Bob Hope’s association with the promenade, acknowledging the connection between Frances Langford and Bob Hope, especially in their advocacy for veterans. Although not explicitly outlined in the accessible resources, Bob Hope was recognized as a supporter of the City Beautiful movement, which was exemplified in the design of the Lake Mirror Promenade.

Exploring Hollis Garden and Beyond

Near the Lake Mirror Promenade, Hollis Garden is a botanic garden that exhibits neoclassical architecture. Managed by the City of Lakeland’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts department, Hollis Garden holds significant value as a prominent attraction inaugurated on December 8, 2000. Its establishment reflects the realization of the original architect’s vision from 1928.

Designed by the renowned Charles Wellford Leavitt, Hollis Garden showcases distinct plant species such as the Triangular Palm (Neodypsis decaryi) and Phoenix reclinata. It hosts a diverse range of special events, encompassing movies, concerts, a classic car show, wine festival, swan derby, the Plantae-Palooza Garden Festival, the inaugural Plantopia Garden Festival, the Annual Selfies with Santa event, and First Light Yoga.

Hollis Garden

Neoclassical architecture and seasonal plants at Hollis GardenNestled on the southern shore of Lake Mirror, Hollis Garden is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Its features include:

  • Neoclassical architecture

  • Patterned flower beds

  • Art installations

  • Water fountains

These elements serve as a visual delight for visitors. The garden’s layout and diverse plant collection intricately narrate the history of Florida, providing a glimpse into the rich Florida memory.

Hollis Garden is not just a feast for the eyes, but it also hosts a range of events that make it a lively spot. It is closed on Mondays, and the operational hours from September to May are from 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday through Thursday.

Lemon Street Sculpture Competition

Art enthusiasts will be thrilled to find the Lemon Street Sculpture Competition, an annual rotating sculpture exhibition organized by the City of Lakeland’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department. This artistic event sees ten sculptures selected for display along the three blocks of Lemon Street and near the Lakeland Public Library.

The competition features the Best of Show, Second Place, and Honorable Mention awards, chosen by an impartial judge, and the People’s Choice award, which is determined through public voting. Artists employ a diverse range of materials for their sculptures, such as aluminum, bronze, marble, steel, wood, and glass, making it a haven for creative expression.

Munn Park

Tranquil ambiance of Munn Park with a beautiful fountainMunn Park is another historic landmark in Lakeland. Established in 1884 as a town square within Lakeland’s first subdivision, Munn Park is part of the Munn Park Historic District and is named in honor of the city’s founder, Abraham Munn.

Established in 1910, a Civil War monument in the park pays tribute to the Confederate soldiers who participated in the Civil War. Visitors can also anticipate encountering a diverse range of plants, such as specialty plants and orchids during the Spring Obsession event.

Furthermore, the Plant Pop-Up events showcase a selection of vendors presenting distinctive plants available for purchase.

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College

A visit to Central Florida Southern College is a must for architecture enthusiasts. The campus holds the most extensive assortment of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture globally, making it a significant architectural landmark.

Frank Lloyd Wright established a distinctive professional partnership with Florida Southern College, during which he created a collection of 13 structures. This collaboration marked the longest duration of his career and resulted in the sole completed design of a college campus. The architectural style of the buildings at Florida Southern College, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, encompasses Usonian and organic architecture.

The ‘Child of the Sun’ Visitor Center serves as an educational resource for visitors and features a permanent display of photographs, furniture, and drawings that illustrate Wright’s connection with the College.

Enjoying Downtown Lakeland

Brimming with historic sites and main attractions, Downtown Lakeland is a vibrant and lively destination. Significant historical landmarks include:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College

  • Joker Marchant Stadium

  • Lake Mirror

  • Munn Park

  • Barnett Family Park

  • Bicentennial Rose Garden/Veteran’s Park

  • Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror

One can have an enjoyable day in Downtown Lakeland, Lakeland FL, by:

  • Exploring its quaint shops

  • Savoring international cuisine

  • Visiting museums such as the Polk Museum of Art and the Florida Children’s Museum

  • Concluding the day with a movie at the historic Polk Theatre.

Not to mention, Downtown Lakeland provides a diverse range of exceptional dining options, such as:

  • Bay Street Bistro

  • Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro

  • Nineteen 61

  • Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille

  • The Joinery

  • Crispers

Historic Places

Preserved historic landmarks in downtown LakelandLakeland is home to numerous significant historic landmarks, which include:

  • Lake Mirror

  • Munn Park

  • Lake Mirror Historic Tour

  • First Presbyterian Church

  • Lake Mirror Promenade

  • Polk Theatre

  • The Frank Lloyd Wright

  • Barnett Family Park

  • Bicentennial Rose Garden/Veteran’s Park

  • Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror

The Polk Theater is a historic atmospheric theater constructed in 1928, designed to accommodate entertainment needs with its 1,400 seating capacity. The South Florida Avenue Historic District holds significance as it is a key part of the South and East Lake Morton Historic Districts.

The historical sites of Lakeland showcase a variety of architectural styles, which are a testament to the city’s rich history and the diverse character of its buildings.

Main St. Attractions

Arts and cultural events on Main St. encompass the festivities of First Friday: Three Kings Celebration, Tasty Tuesday + Tunes in Munn Park, and the changing exhibitions at the Polk Museum of Art Gift Shop, which display a range from ancient to contemporary art. Main Street boasts a variety of signature dining options, including:

  • Nineteen 61

  • Low And Slow Smokehouse

  • The Back Nine - Downtown

  • WACO Kitchen - Lakeland

  • Bay Street Bistro

  • Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro

  • Cake Makers.

Visitors can discover shops and boutiques such as Bungalow Boutique and Gifts, Low Country Vintage, The Raven Faerie, Rafa Natural, Pumpernaks, and VINTAGE, which provide distinctive and frequently locally sourced items. The main attractions along Main St. include the Florida Children’s Museum, Polk Museum of Art, Polk Theatre, Silver Moon Drive-In, Born & Bread Bakehouse, Concord Coffee, Barnett Family Park, Bicentennial Rose Garden/Veteran’s Park, Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror, and architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright.


To summarize, Lakeland, Florida, is a city rich in history, culture, and beauty. From the picturesque Lake Mirror Promenade to the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College, Lakeland offers a unique blend of nature, history, and architecture. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, an architecture buff, or a foodie, Lakeland has something for everyone. So why wait? Experience the allure of Lakeland and create unforgettable memories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of the Lake Mirror Promenade?

The Lake Mirror Promenade is a picturesque 21-acre, 20-foot wide decorated walkway surrounding Lake Mirror in Central Florida, recognized as a Lakeland landmark and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It holds great historical and cultural significance.

Who was Frances Langford?

Frances Langford was a highly esteemed singer and actress known for entertaining American soldiers through USO tours alongside Bob Hope.

What events are hosted at Hollis Garden?

Hollis Garden hosts a diverse range of special events, including movies, concerts, car shows, festivals, and yoga sessions.

What is the significance of the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College?

The architecture at Florida Southern College is a significant landmark due to its extensive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designs, making it the most significant assortment of his work globally.

What attractions does Downtown Lakeland offer?

Downtown Lakeland offers a range of attractions, such as the Polk Museum of Art, Florida Children's Museum, quaint shops, international cuisine, and the historic Polk Theatre. Thanks for researching the Francis Langford Promenade in Lakeland FL.

All listing information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified through personal inspection by appropriate professionals. Listings displayed on this website may be subject to prior sale or removal from sale; availability of any listing should always be independent verified. Listing information is provided for consumer personal, non-commercial use, solely to identify potential properties for potential purchase; all other use is strictly prohibited and may violate relevant federal and state law. The source of the listing data is as follows: Stellar MLS (updated 3/1/24 11:59 PM) |

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